“It is a condition of monsters that they do not perceive themselves as such. The dragon, you know, hunkered in the village devouring maidens, heard the townsfolk cry ‘Monster!’ and looked behind him” – Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Laini Taylor
Initial Thoughts: I admit that I tend to chose a book based on its cover. With so many books to choose from out there, the best book cover tends to draw me in first before I would even consider picking it up. On the cover of this novel Daughter of Smoke & Bone was a picture of a girl in a mask. For some odd reason, I adore masks (I even have a mask collection), and so, without reading the synopsis, I dived in.
Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.
In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.
And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war” Goodreads
As I had said, I did not know what this book was about. I have been doing this a lot lately, choosing books based on their cover, or at random. It is much more fun that way. If I would have known what the book was about, I probably wouldn’t have been interested. I do not usually like books about angels. I find them very dull and boring. Oh great, a good looking guy with wings with a heart of – well – an angel. Yawn. In this case, the author completely flipped the idea of angels and their angelic nature completely on its head. Without any spoilers, I can tell you that you will be surprised and very intrigued.
The story begins with Karou, a young art student studying in Prague who can’t get rid of her ex-boyfriend, Kazimir. The first few chapters are extremely humorous, especially when Kazimir decides to volunteer as a nude model in Karou’s art class so that she would notice him and take him back. To Kazimir’s surprise, Karou does the complete opposite. She begins to make wishes on her magical necklace for Kaz to become really itchy while posing in the nude.
Karou’s wishes are payment for her job to retrieve teeth from all around the world. Behind Karou’s seemingly ordinary life is a dark secret. She was raised by chimaera, creatures who are half human and half animal. Their work is to collect teeth and grant wishes. One day, during one of Karou’s missions, she notices that the portals she uses to complete her missions are being destroyed one by one.
First of all, I was delighted to read a story centered in Prague. There aren’t many young adult novels out there that take place outside of the U.S. or U.K. After reading the story, I really want to visit Prague in the Czech Republic, it sounds absolutely picturesque. Of course, I know there probably aren’t any chimaera or angels lurking about in the shadows, and that is probably a good thing. The way Laini Taylor describes Prague makes it look as inviting as if she were writing a travelogue, enticing her readers to visit.
What really drew me into the story was the story and characters. The story is so unique, and each of the characters are masterfully crafted. I probably will never forget Kaoru with her “natural” blue hair, her sketches of her chimaera family, and her eye tattoos. Or Akiva with his orange coloured eyes. Or Zusana with her large puppet. Or even Razgut, the parasitic creature clinging onto the back of an unfortunate man who desired knowledge.
I listened to this book as an audiobook to keep my mind sharp and focused while at work. The narration of the audiobook was superb, especially when attempting all the different accents and tones. The voice of Razgut was especially creepy. His voice reminded me of Gollum’s voice from the film version of The Lord of the Rings & The Hobbit films. The characters from Prague such as Kaoru’s friend Zusana and Kasimir have Czech accents.
I would recommend this book to fans of The Night Circus by: Erin Morgenstern. I know that both books do not have similar plotlines, I find that they are akin to each other in the fact that they are both very imaginative. The plot of Daughter of Smoke & Bone is so very rich with details about the world of the seraphim and chimaeras. I can’t wait to read the other two books in the series!
About the Book Title: Daughter of Smoke & Bone Author: Laini Taylor Series: Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Book #1: Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Book #2:Days of Blood & Starlight, Book #3: Dreams of Gods & Monsters) Pages: 422 Year Published: 2011 Genres & Subjects: Fiction, Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy, Magic, chimaera, angels, paranormal
Until Next Time,